FnB

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FnB

Comment Scottsdale, Arizona
FnB Scottsdale Arizona
 

If you would have told me at the top of the year that the best meal I was going to have in 2017 would be in Scottsdale, Arizona, I would have shook my damn head. Good PR in both Los Angeles and New York will have you think that all the top tier meals are found in these two cities, but from my experience traveling across our country, the real gems are found in small cities, particularly ones closest to farms. I didn’t know a single thing about FnB when I walked through the doors. Its appearance was relaxed from the outside and located in a small outdoor mall in Downtown Scottsdale. I was on a press trip exploring the city and was hitting every destination on our itinerary with an open mind and no expectations. 

A long table awaited our arrival inside the warm and cozy space, with lots of natural light falling through the front windows. There were a few tables outside, a few more inside, and a separate bar area for guests looking to partake in some wine and snacks. No neon signs adored the wall, no wall of plants, no subway tiles nor colorful squares laid across the floor–this space was devoid of any of the West Coast / East Coast restaurant trends that have taken over like the plague. In difference, the restaurant was quaint with dark woods, tall ceilings, and white linen table cloths. It was the kind of restaurant you could sense would serve good wines but without one drop of pretension. It was a breathe of fresh air, which I realized was so desperately needed in my culinary adventures.

Because we had dinner reservations, my photography was limited to the plates that landed on the table before darkness fell. Dinners have become particularly special to me as it’s one of the few moments that I can enjoy my food while it’s piping hot. Typically my time is consumed with shooting my meal, but at FnB, I got to sit down and really enjoy myself.  This was also the first time on a press trip where every single person vibed, and not only that, genuinely liked each other. It was truly special to sit down with a group of intelligent grown ass women who loved their wine, food, and weren’t bashful about real talk like money, sex, and maneuvering in this country post-election.

 
FnB Scottsdale Arizona
 
FnB Scottsdale Arizona
 

While at FnB, I had the opportunity to indulge in a variety of 11dishes. Incredible, right? Here’s what I ate:
crispy local chickpeas, pigment d’espelette
beets, oranges, strawberries, olives, glacier lettuce, hazelnuts, goat cheese
peruvian chicken spring rolls, pecans, ahi amarillo quark, cilantro
local escarole, puntarelle, treviso radicchio, lulu’s garlic vinaigrette, parmesan
pickled shrimp, fennel, celery, lemon, buttered saltines
spicy grilled summer squash, fish sauce, basil, cashews, crispy onions,
roasted carrots, harissa mayo, avocado, dukka
pink grouper, green olive relish, potatoes, aleppo, fennel, grapefruit
creekstone farms ribeye, tepary bean-tomato relish, bloomsdale spinach
olive oil cake with cardamom ice cream
& some kind of chocolate dessert (I was too turnt by plate 11)

Although most days I abstain from alcohol because it makes me sleepy and is actual poison to the body, I was not going to pass up the wine pairing at FnB. Beverage Director Pavle Milic curated the first Arizona-only wine program, which compliments Chef Charleen Badman menu to the fullest. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or not, you’ll be in good hands with your server. I should have written down exactly what we drank because it brought out our meal nicely and took no time in loosening the gang up. I bet if I asked Erica from Honestly WTF she’d know, that woman was dropping some major wine knowledge. I would highly recommend the wine pairing, you can look at their wines here and here

The chef and owner of FnB is Charleen Badman, a 2014 and 2015 James Beard nominee for Best Chef of the Southwest. Her menu is seasonal and is based on what’s currently available at the local farmers market. Although the menu serves meat and fish, the vegetables shine the brightest at FnB. Having switched to more of a plant-based diet in 2017 for my overall health & wellness, I couldn’t have been happier with the vegetables I consumed while at dinner. In fact, I ate the BEST CARROTS OF MY LIFE and haven’t stopped thinking about them since returning home from Scottsdale. It's as if these carrots where picked out of the ground that day (quite possibly) and put on my plate, grilled to perfection. I nearly flipped when I saw they were paired with dukka–a personal favorite, but not something you see on a menu every day. Bless you Chef Badman for putting this dish in my life.

As I mentioned, every single dish was something worth talking about, but there was one in particular that had everyone flipping out at the table. Have you ever tried glacier lettuce? I hadn't heard of it prior to my Scottsdale trip. It's not actually lettuce, but rather a succulent, ready for consumption. Glacier lettuce looks like icy velvet and is sensitive to touch; the leaves take the appearance of crystals on your plate, which made me feel glamourous. I appreciate a good crunch and the glacier lettuce was perfection paired with beets and goat cheese. Any time a restaurant can drop a first on me, I'm impressed. This dish is an absolute must. 

FnB | 7125 E 5th Ave #31, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

 
FnB Scottsdale Arizona
Taliesin West

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Taliesin West

4 Comments Scottsdale, Arizona
Frank Llyod Wright Taliesin West Scottsdale Arizona
 

Upon confirming my trip to Scottsdale, Arizona I began researching what art, design, and architecture I could experience while in the Southwest. I was excited to learn of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, a National Historic Landmark which was once Wright's cherished winter home. Established in 1937, this 620 acres desert oasis was built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices. This magical place is said to be "among the most personal of the architect’s creations." It is currently the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Without hesitation I added Taliesin West to my itinerary; my contacts in Arizona loved the idea so much they set up a tour for our entire group, which was a major highlight while in Scottsdale.

After an all-nighter that spilled well into the morning with my Arizona lover Antonio, I rolled out of bed and into the shower to meet the crew for an 8:30am departure. A tour bus awaited outside The Andaz Scottsdale and after a short drive on the highway we found ourselves at Taliesin West. Perched atop a hill over-looking the vibrant Arizona desert, I found myself at the glorious doors of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West. 

I first came to know Frank Lloyd Wright's work in 2003, when I started working at the Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles. The library hosted an exhibit of his prints and I quickly became interested in his use of sacred geometry. Over the six years I worked at the library, my knowledge of Frank Lloyd Wright expanded, as did my appreciation of his work. Remember my piece about the Institute of Mentalphysics? He was the original architect, but his son finished the job. The Institute remains one of my favorite sites in America. Have you been to The Guggenheim, Hollyhock House, or Wayfarers Chapel? That's his work too. Here's a list of his public sites. I have vowed to visit them all, checking them off one by one.

 
Frank Llyod Wright Taliesin West Scottsdale Arizona
Frank Llyod Wright Taliesin West Scottsdale Arizona
 
Frank Llyod Wright Taliesin West Scottsdale Arizona
 
Frank Llyod Wright Taliesin West Scottsdale Arizona
 

Upon arrival I quickly became hyped. There are very few things I love more than unique architecture nestled in between a desert landscape, cacti as far as the eye can see. It was gorgeous. We linked with our docent, who was one of the best docents I've ever had the pleasure of encountering. Here's the thing about docents–they're volunteers–so you know they really want to be there! One of the reasons this tour was so spectacular was due to the knowledge dropped on us by our guide.  She was emphatic, enthusiastic, and smart.

Our tour topped off at just over an hour and a half. During our visit, we had the chance to peak inside every space on the property. Just when I thought I found my favorite room, I'd walk into another and be completely blown to pieces. I had the chance to explore inside Frank Lloyd Wright's private quarters and living room, the “Garden Room”, drafting studio and the Cabaret. The living room (shown in my first photograph) is where Wright would throw parties, gather with his friends, or chill. His use of sacred geometry was found at every turn, the vibrations were high. Although it was nearing 100° outside and everyone had their sun umbrellas out, I could be found spinning across the grass alongside his custom built triangle pool. It wasn't meant for swimming, but had it been, ya girl would've gone for a dip. 

Taliesin West | 12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259

 
Frank Llyod Wright Taliesin West Scottsdale Arizona
Frank Llyod Wright Taliesin West Scottsdale Arizona
Snowfall in LA

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Snowfall in LA

Comment Los Angeles, California
Snowfall.jpg
 

Join Fx & I this weekend as we celebrate the premiere of their new show–Snowfall–with an immersive 80's throwback experience in DTLA. Snowfall was created by John Singleton, Eric Amadio & Dave Andron, set in 1980's Los Angeles, starring a predominantly Latino and Black cast. As a big fan of Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice and Baby Boy, I am looking forward to seeing what Singleton brings to the TV screen.

The Snowfall pop-up is free and open to the public from Friday June 23 - Sunday June 25. Catch me learning how to spin old-school vinyl at the DJ Academy, where the old heads will bestowing all of their scratching skills on those in attendance. This is but one of the many cool things planned for this weekend's festivities. In need of a fade? There will be a barber shop on site featuring John Mosley, aka The Popular Nobody, giving classic 80's fade-ups. Not to be missed is a meet and greet with Lonzo Williams, the godfather of early West Coast hip-hop. And it wouldn't be a proper event without some food – Bludso's will be on deck serving up BBQ sliders and Trejo's Tacos will be serving contemporary Mexican. Stick around for giveaways, which includes a pass to attend the premiere screening of Snowfall on Monday, 6/26 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel.

WHEN: Friday, June 23rd from 12pm-8pm & Saturday and Sunday from11am-7pm
WHERE: Hudson Loft, 1200 South Hope Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015

RSVP: Facebook Event Page
Learn more about the show: http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/snowfall
Fx Facebook Page:  http://www.facebook.com/FxNetworks

This is a sponsored post; while the views expressed are genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me by FX.

 
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa

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Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa

4 Comments Scottsdale, Arizona
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
 

My trip to Scottsdale couldn’t have presented itself at a better time. Last month I began to slowly emerge from a post-break up gloom and personal funk that had been lingering since late 2016 and managed to spill well into 2017. For the past year, I haven't been feeling social, upbeat, or psyched on life, as everyone knows me to be. A trip to some place warm and restorative was exactly what I needed to recharge my spirit. I wasn't sure what kind of magical powers I’d tap into while in Scottsdale, but I knew that being in the desert yet again, particularly in the Southwest, would elevate my vibrations in ways I so desperately needed. If you find yourself in a position where you are seeking a retreat or time away from your everyday stresses, Scottsdale Arizona, particularly this resort, is an ideal atmosphere. There's no excuse when it's only an hour and a half flight from Los Angeles or six hour drive if you appreciate a good road trip.

I was invited to experience the brand new Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, a luxury hotel in Paradise Valley that Conde Nast Traveler named to their 2017 Hot List of hotels. Initially I was invited to attend a Food & Wine Magazine event on the newly designed property and there was no hesitation to say yes on my end, as a party under the desert moon is always appealing to me. What I didn’t anticipate is that this Scottsdale adventure would become one of the best press trips I ever took – I must give a special shoutout to the women on this trip who I had the pleasure of spending my days with. I was reminded yet again of the beauty in walking into experiences without expectations, a recent lesson I learned, which has only been confirmed countless times over the past few months. When I boarded my flight to Arizona, my mind was open, and before I knew it, I was experiencing an unforgettable trip, with the Andaz Scottsdale at the center of it all.

 
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona, Best Room Service
 
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
 

the hotel

When I arrived at the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, the warm welcome from the bell men immediately set the tone. There's very few things I appreciate more than genuine friendliness and a smile. I walked into the lobby where I was greeted with an ice cold glass of freshly brewed peach tea. At the Andaz, you can find ice tea awaiting you in the lobby every day of your stay. My check-in was easy breezy and before I knew it, a German woman grabbed my luggage and so began the tour of the property and our journey to my casita. I am in love with the various style elements of the Southwest and the Adobe meets mid-century modern bungalows looked serene situated across 23 acres of desert landscape. I looked up at saw Camelback Mountain, a beautiful view to be surrounded by and so lovely to wake up to in the morning. One of the first things I noticed on my walk through the property where the intricately designed and maintained rock lawns, with calming swirls, reminiscent of a Japanese Zen garden. I had to ask – especially after walking across one and messing it up – were these raked every day? The answer was yes. The utmost attention is paid to the rock designs and that was one of the most impressive things. I believe that how you do one thing is how you do everything and the Andaz's attention to detail was impressive.

As with any hotel stay, I’m obsessed with the pool. The first thing I ask at check-in is always “is the pool 24 hours?” I'm usually prepared for a property to say no, but at the Andaz, it was enthusiastic yes! You want to impress me? Treat your guests like grown ass adults and allow them to swim antime day or night. You can best believe I was taking a dip at 3am under the palm trees and desert sky. Even better is that is was with a date I met in Arizona with plenty of late-night kisses (more on that later). Completely rejuvenating. If lounging by the pool is your vibe, you can post up in one of the 13 private cabanas at The Turquoise Pool. Hit the bar to enjoy boozy punchbowls and spiked popsicles. Are you looking for a girl's getaway? This scene is perf.

One of the most interesting elements of the hotel is its connection to local artists. Upon inception of the property, the Andaz Scottsdale made a conscious decision to work with Cattle Track Arts Compound to create artwork to adorn the lobby, restaurant, and in various nooks across the property. In each of the 201 casitas you can also find prints that were made at the compound, which I had the great pleasure of visiting. 

 
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
 
Weft + Warp Bar & Kitchen, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
 

the restaurant

I ate many meals at Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, the restaurant located on the property. This naturally well lit and airy restaurant serves contemporary Sonoran cuisine with an emphasis on small, shareable plates. While enjoying dinner one evening, I ate a Blue Cornbread muffin baked into a cast iron skillet that had me obsessed; Southwest flavors can truly awaken the senses if executed well, and Chef Adam Sheff, formerly of the Park Hyatt NYC, made some memorable dishes. The show stopper of all our meals was an incredibly prepared Whole Trout from the Plancha, accompanied by grilled lemon, cauliflower, and pecan romesco. It’s not every day you can shout out trout but my goodness the flavor was incredible! Also not to be missed, the Compressed Watermelon Salad paired with Crow's Dairy goat cheese, crispy chicken skin, and basil. Any time I see "chicken skin" it's an automatic yes, so don't miss this. I had the chance to meet the farmer from Crow’s Dairy, also located in Arizona, while at the Food & Wine function, and it’s always really cool to meet the person behind the food. He was so delightfully affable, people had assumed we were old friends by the way we were chopping it up. His cheese curds are something else I must add!

The restaurant is well-designed without feeling pretentious, the menu thoughtful and devoid of trendy hype beast dishes. All of the dishes I so happily consumed at Weft & Warp were reflective of the Arizona vibe, none of them leaving me with a heavy feeling, but rather nourishment. The  waitstaff was friendly and not faking it, which is so uncommon these days. One night our group spent hours at a large dinner table ordering plates on top of plates, multiple bottles of wine, and laughing about all the ridiculous that is everyday life. The vibes were high and the restaurant welcomed every minute. I appreciate a space where you don't feel rushed and can enjoy a good meal with loud friends.

 
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
Best Spas in America, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
 
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona, Best Pools in America
 

the spa

This was one of the best spa experiences of my life, if not simply for my massage which was paired with a custom oil corresponding to my numerology. Even writing about it now my body was enveloped with total calmness. When I walked in Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary I was greeted with the softest & calmest voice I had ever heard; it was like speaking with an angel. I was then given a questionnaire on a tablet, presented to me by my massage therapist. She asked what kind of feeling I’d like to evoke from my treatment – positivity, clarity, strength, followed by the option to create an oil based on my numerology, to which I immediately said yes! The feeling of clarity or strength sounded top notch, but I am never going to pass up a New Age experience. I typed in my birthday and asked for it to reflect 2017. A message appeared describing what my year had in store and that my signature oil scents would be ylang-ylang, citrus, & rose. 

I made my way to the locker room, which was brand new, like everything on the property - it's hard to beat the smell and look of new while traveling. The amenities came correct for any woman trying to relax or pamper herself in front on a mirror, draped in a cozy robe. In the waiting room, fresh water and pastries were available to spa guests, with a large glass door overlooking the spa’s pool, a much quieter vibe from the hotel’s main pool. The spa also features a salon, apothecary boutique, eucalyptus steam rooms, outdoor relaxation lounges, and a fitness center. If you’re like me and appreciate fine pampering, don’t sleep on Palo Verde. There are very few things that compare to being massaged on a heated bed which by strong hands. I say emphatically that this was one of the best massages of my life, and at this point, I’ve had hundreds.  

Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa | 6114 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85253

 
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
 
Weft + Warp Bar & Kitchen, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, Best Hotels in Arizona, Luxury Hotels Arizona
Folded Hills

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Folded Hills

4 Comments Gaviota, California
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
 
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
 

I feel at home on a farm – the open fields, animals, fresh air – they put me at ease and bring my spirit the purest form of joy. As much as I love the city, I equally love miles of land with not a person in sight. Being alone is something I truly appreciate, and for this reason, I love traveling solo dolo. While on my last trip to Los Alamos I had “visit a local farm” on my list of things to do. I had familiarized myself with the gems of Los Alamos, but now it was time I discover other pockets of Central California and the California Coast.

I wasn’t sure which farm I would venture to, but I did plan on asking the townspeople of Los Alamos where in the area I could see animals, buy produce, and get my life on a rolling hill. A young woman working in house keeping at The Alamo Motel was kind enough to give me a list of her personal recommendations. Her mother and I had bonded earlier on my trip speaking entirely in Spanish, and the three of us developed a friendship during my stay. After our great conversation about nearby farms, I decided that I would set out to Folded Hills, located in Gaviota, about 30 mins located from Los Alamos, between Santa Barbara and Buellton, off of Highway 101. On the beautiful drive to Gaviota I saw “Blueberry Picking” signs and cows roaming the green pastures. It was beautiful and true California living.

When exiting the highway, I gleefully followed the signs to the farm. I pulled up on a dirt road that led me to a gorgeous steel barn. I could see a small donkey in the distance and I knew I was about to lose it. Hopping out of the car, I spotted piglets and goats, which nearly made me collapse to the ground, as I couldn’t handle the cuteness surrounding me. I quickly befriended the goats, who were sunbathing; I could’ve ended my trip there with the amount of fun I was already having. Interesting fact, as a child and into my teenage years, I had considered veterinary medicine and started studying the practice as a volunteer at the Pasadena Humane Society. At the time UC Davis had the best program and I wanted to learn about more about the treatment and care of farm animals. I digress.

I made my way into the barn, which I discovered to be a shop selling organic fruit and vegetables from the land on which it occupied. The produce was vibrant in sight and smell, with prices too good to pass up. It’s wild to hold, taste, and experience food that has just been plucked out of the ground, void of poisons and pesticides. This is my ideal food story – and I hope one day a majority of us California residents have access and education (especially poc) to grow our own organic produce. Ron Finley, who I've been following for the past couple years and recently heard lecture at CAAM, is a leader in that discussion, who I recommend you check out.

 
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
 

Being incredibly inspired by the fresh produce I was fondling, I decided to purchase a picking basket from the farmstead and head to the field to gather my own strawberries. Being Mexican American, who’s grandmother worked in the fields, this moment was not lost on me – I had a mixed emotions, especially with the understanding of how migrant workers are treated in our country. I also began to think of my culture and family’s connection to the Earth and how important yerbas, plants, and gardening has been to our lives. Being among the flora and fauna has always felt like second nature to me, and it’s unfortunate that this tradition has been disrespected and undervalued.  

Everything about my visit to Folded Hills was nourishing to my life – the food perfection and the farm so lush I could've taken a nap in the lettuce field. The local and organic olive oil from Figueroa Farms (only $8, that I bottled myself) was so insanely good that I got mad at all the trash I'd been buying back home. While wrapping up my visit, the farmer who oversees the property picked up on my enthusiasm for farm life and welcomed me to take a private tour. It was on this excursion I had the opportunity to meet his pet hog, chickens (they also sell fresh eggs), and play with the piglets. I cannot wait to return.

Folded Hills | 2323 Old Coast Highway Road, Gaviota 93117

 
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
 
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
Folded Hills Farm, California Organic Farms, Los Alamos Travel Guide, California Road Trips, Figueroa Farms Olive Oil, Los Alamos, Gaviota, Gaviota California
Bob's Well Bread Bakery

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Bob's Well Bread Bakery

4 Comments Los Alamos, California
bob's well bread bakery, best california bakeries, los alamos restaurants, los alamos ca, where to eat in los alamos, los alamos travel guide, los alamos dining
 
bob's well bread bakery, best california bakeries, los alamos restaurants, los alamos ca, where to eat in los alamos, los alamos travel guide, los alamos dining, best almond croissant
 

Bread is not the enemy, despite what living in Los Angeles or reading any fashion magazine might tell you. There was a moment I was foolish to believe that wheat and gluten was going to kill me, but then I realized it was actually the herbicide sprayed on wheat that was making me sick. It’s an outrage living in a country that knowingly poisons us through food all in the name of capitalism, especially when it comes to something so classic as bread. It’s for this reason, I have embraced all that a quality loaf of bread can do for my life and I am willing to pay more for that experience.

One of the things I look forward to most when on the road to Los Alamos is sitting down at one of my favorite bakeries in California, Bob’s Well Bread Bakery. There’s never a drive up I don’t day dream about sitting down with Bob’s incredibly flakey and delicious almond croissant, which is only available on the weekends. That’s my absolute favorite menu item at Bob’s and if you want to indulge, you better make sure to show up before noon, because they will sell out! I repeat, they will sell out.

I love going to Bob’s because I appreciate the time, love, and effort that goes into making every piece of bread in the shop. His wooden counter and glass case is filled with croissants, baguettes, a variety of loaves, bagels, and English muffins, to name a few. Bob’s Well Bread Bakery is dedicated to hand-made artisanal bread, made with quality ingredients and natural starters. You won’t have to worry about preservatives as the bread is prepared with the simplest of ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast – how it should be, imagine that. The only problem you will face when eating at Bob’s is deciding on what to choose from the menu. Or you can be like me, and drop at least $20 for bread and pastries to take back home.

 
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bob's well bread bakery, best california bakeries, los alamos restaurants, los alamos ca, where to eat in los alamos, los alamos travel guide, los alamos dining
 

In addition to glorious racks of bread, stamped with his grandmother's seal, Bob also serves some stellar breakfast options like Bagels & Lox, Beans on Toast, Eggs Benedict, and a delightful “Egg-in-a-Jar” made with purple potato puree topped with gruyere cheese, poached egg, bacon lardons, chives and crème fraiche. I have eaten all of the aforementioned and strongly encourage you to do the same. When’s the last time you had a homemade English Muffin? You can also have that here.

There is no rush at Bob’s Bakery, which is my preferred choice for dining. It’s always a magical moment when I swing open the shop door, see Bob behind the counter, and am welcomed with the warmest hello. When I’m here, people know me by name and I love that. I feel relaxed at Bob’s, I’m chill here. After I place my order, I like to cozy up on the patio with a newspaper, sip on a latte, and breathe in the fresh air. The staff is always friendly, the bread rarely disappoints, and it’s the exact opposite feeling of almost every restaurant in Los Angeles. In essence, it’s near perfection.

Bob's Well Bread Bakery | 550 Bell St, Los Alamos, CA 93440

 
bob's well bread bakery, best california bakeries, los alamos restaurants, los alamos ca, where to eat in los alamos, los alamos travel guide, los alamos dining
The Alamo Motel

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The Alamo Motel

Comment Los Alamos, California
alamo hotel los alamos, alamo hotel los alamos ca, alamo motel los alamos, alamo motel los alamos ca, alamo motel shelter social club, where to stay in los alamos
 

As much as I love Los Angeles, leaving this city on the regular is crucial to my mental health. One of my favorite places to go semi-off-the-grid is Los Alamos, a cozy town less than 3 hours Northeast of L.A. I love hitting the open road to clear my mind and the drive to Los Alamos is a beautiful one. On this journey up the 101 to the 154, there is an expansive ocean view, lush mountains, rolling hills and the ability to inhale the kind of air you often forget exists in California. I open my sunroof, roll down all the windows, blast my favorite tracks, and breathe out all the bullshit. Highly recommend.

 
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The Alamo Motel is my lodging choice when staying in Los Alamos. Completely renovated by the creative duo behind Shelter Social Club, this boutique motel offers everything I need when I want to unwind – a clawfoot tub, cozy bed, and outdoor fire pit perfect for star gazing. A personal favorite is the portable heater - which looks like tiny fireplace - that I like to place at the foot of the bed in the colder months. Across the street from The Alamo Motel are some of my favorite restaurants in California. Los Alamos is killing the farm-to-table culinary game and I cannot wait to share my favorite spots with you; keep your eyes open for my complete restaurant guide. And if it's wine you love, this makes for an ideal location for a wine turn up, because everything is within walking distance. Don't want to leave the property? Pull up a stool at Muni Wines, located on site, with lots of great options. Rosé in the Spring is just my vibe

Nice things don't always have to deplete your bank account and this is another reason why I love staying at The Alamo Motel. The standard room during the week can be as low at $99 and on the weekends $199. I'm going share a secret with you though. Are you listening? You can cop a room for $80 on a weekday via the Hotel Tonight app. That's something I discovered on my own and my life has been better for it since. Whether you snag the deal or not, Los Alamos is the perfect place to unplug, or to start writing that book you've been putting off. Need a solo getaway, a girls trip, or romantic romp – Los Alamos is ideal for it all.  

The Alamo Motel | 425 Bell Street, Los Alamos CA 93440 

 
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MatchaBar

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MatchaBar

1 Comment Los Angeles, California
 

It feels like every day Los Angeles welcomes the opening of a cute new restaurant. As of late, I have become exhausted and overwhelmed with simply how curated every space in our city has become. This is one of the primary reasons I unfollowed nearly every food or lifestyle Instagrammer – it’s too much for me, it’s not my vibe. One of my best friends recently described this epidemic as “influencers influencing other influencers” and I nearly fell out my chair. She nailed it.

I was hesitant to accept the invite to MatchaBar, especially as I stay grumbling about the changes to the Eastside, once so beautifully Latinx. But I love matcha and I heard Amara Kitchen (a personal favorite of mine from Garvanza, also on my Essential LA list) was serving food in the space, so I went in with my pal Jazper on a weekday morning. I’m glad I made the visit because I had the opportunity to sit down with the owner, meet the team, and try a bunch of dishes off their menu. There was only one true miss on my visit and that was the Baklava Croissant from Gjusta, which photographed so beautifully. It was dry, over-baked, and not impressive. I wasn’t totally surprised, as I’ve continually been underwhelemd with pastries from Gjusta, so my question is this: what are y’all eating there that you love so much? It’s beyond me and considering the prices, I gave up on trying anymore. Please let me know in the comments if you have a recommendation.

MatchaBar is a chill space to start your day and I love that. The cafe is filled with natural light, the vibe relaxed. The staff is warm with their welcome and the drinks comforting. Last year my Chinese herbalist suggested that I begin my mornings by drinking something warm to improve my overall well-being, and the Golden Latte was the perfect match. Made with organic turmeric and ginger, this creation is a healthy cup of liquid that’ll put some positive energy into your step . I felt at ease while sitting on their patio soaking up the sun and sipping on matcha, I was relaxed, despite being on insane Sunset Blvd. There aren’t plugs or wifi passwords at MatchaBar, and I appreciate that tremendously. That means you aren’t dogging screenwriters and freelancers for tables that you’ll probably never get, because they’re camping out for 8 hours, when they should be at the library. This is a cafe where you can come and enjoy yourself, eat and drink something that makes you feel good, then go out into the world and try your best.

 
 
 

As mentioned, I was hyped that Amara Kitchen had expanded their reach from Garvanza to Silver Lake. One of the best paleo-friendly restaurants in Los Angeles, I’ve been eating at Amara for a couple years now. I love their bowls, avocado toast, and freshly made almond milk. They have some pickled sea vegetables that made me lose my mind the first time I tried them! Having become more mindful of what I consume, I am now predominantly seeking food that makes me feel nourished after I’ve eaten it. I was tired of the itis, you feel me? At MatchaBar, Amara is coming strong. I tried their Purple Egg Pot which was perfection, made with homemade pesto, pickled cabbage, pickled onions, roasted potatoes and a poached egg. This was everything I needed in a jar. If you try anything here, eat this. My sweet god! Also delicious was Amara’s granola with Straus Organic Yogurt, served in a pot. I am a sucker for good granola and I’ve stopped apologizing for it. This is my California nature, through and through. You will not be disappointed with theirs.

After starting my morning wrapped in a warm blanket found in latte form, I wanted to be bit more extravagant and ordered the Maple Latte, made with cinnamon, maple syrup and a Himalayan Salt. Only a tad sweeter than the aforementioned, I treated this drink as my “desert drink” to accompany my avocado toast. Nothing on this menu taste like liquid sugar and I need you to know that before pulling up to MatchaBar. They’re not serving the matcha variety you find at Starbucks, this is ceremonial grade matcha, with the intention of making you feel energized. Plant molecules y’all! For all my people who cannot process dairy or prefer nut milks, you will feel blessed with the mylk options here, 6 in total: almond, soy, hemp, macadamia, coconut, and a housemade cashew & almond milk. It’s these kind of accommodations that impress me in 2017.

My Maple Latte paired nicely with the organic Avocado Toast made with mashed avocado on sourdough bread, purple cabbage, pesto, and poached eggs. They also make this dish in a vegan, gluten-free, and dairy free option. The quality of ingredients is apparent and if Amara is making it, the pickled elements are going to be great. You feel better after eating organic food prepared with care, it’s as simple as that. I understand why this culinary pairing works so well, as MatchaBar has the same approach with their drinks. This is about wellness and feeling good. I look forward to returning to try their Sparkling Cucumber-Lime Matcha once it gets a little bit warmer. 

MatchaBar | 3534 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026